Admittedly, I should be the last person on earth referencing the virtues of vehicle maintenance; the last time I took my little Hyundai to the mechanic he said, “You know… these things usually run better WITH oil.”
Now if I approached car maintenance like I approach piano teaching not only would I avoid grumpy mechanics, but I also might find myself in the company of people like Irv Gordon. You see, Irv Gordon’s Volvo P1800 has covered 2.8 million miles, thanks almost entirely to Irv’s dedication to regular maintenance.
Like I said, maintaining vehicles just isn’t my thing, but maintaining my piano teaching skills… that’s an entirely different (and much more positive) story!
Big Book of Improvements
Years ago, I decided to make a career of piano teaching. I shunned the naysayers who considered my choice a “hobby” and set out to prove that a career in piano teaching could not only be rewarding but also financially satisfying. And while I made many good decisions over the years, the best decision I ever made was my “Big Book of Improvements”.
Like an old jalopy, I knew my piano teaching career could become rusty if not for regular maintenance. In today’s ever-changing world… music, piano teaching techniques, and children’s interests are constantly evolving; regular maintenance would be needed to keep my piano teaching skills relevant.
Enter the “Big Book of Improvements”.
There are many opportunities for a piano teaching tune-up, but the most beneficial for me, are my daily (not to mention hourly) self-assessments. I look at every single piano lesson I teach as a personal learning, and growing, experience. In the brief period of time that elapses between one piano student leaving my studio, and the next piano student entering my studio, I write down one simple sentence that answers the following question, “What could I have done better?”
I am always amazed at the trends I see emerge in my answers to that question; trends that I quickly and efficiently remedy with a piano teaching tune-up. And by constantly reworking my piano teaching, even after 14 years, I consider myself a “well-oiled piano teaching machine.”
… If only I could say the same thing for my poor little Hyundai!
All of the lessons I’ve learned over the years contributed to the framework as we wrote our piano teacher’s guide, Piano Hands Shouldn’t Flip Burgers. If you haven’t already checked out this awesome resource, click here.